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Publication numberUS5110781 A
Publication typeGrant
Application numberUS 07/691,678
Publication dateMay 5, 1992
Filing dateApr 25, 1991
Priority dateJun 23, 1987
Fee statusLapsed
Also published asCA1322365C, CN1021411C, CN1030533A, DE3879290D1, DE3879290T2, EP0296726A1, EP0296726B1
Publication number07691678, 691678, US 5110781 A, US 5110781A, US-A-5110781, US5110781 A, US5110781A
InventorsDavid C. Griffiths, Brian Kneale
Original AssigneeThe British Petroleum Company P.L.C.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Catalysts
US 5110781 A
Abstract
A process for the preparation of an alumina-based catalyst which comprises:
(a) selecting an alumina catalyst having a bulk density of at least 0.6 g/ml and a pore volume of less than 0.6 ml/g;
(b) heating the alumina of (a) to a temperature of at least 1000 C. in the presence of a sintering agent containing at least one metal selected from nickel, chromium, cobalt and platinum; and
(c) recovering a sintered alumina-based catalyst having a bulk density and an attrition resistance greater than that of the alumina of (a). Catalysts prepared by this process are useful in hydrocarbon conversion processes.
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Claims(5)
We claim:
1. A process for the preparation of an alumina-based catalyst which comprises:
(a) selecting a gamma alumina catalyst having a bulk density of at least 0.6 g/m and a pore volume of less than 0.6 ml/g;
(b) heating the gamma alumina of (a) to a temperature of at least 1200 C. in the presence of a nickel-containing sintering agent in an amount to give at least 8% by weight of nickel and
(c) recovering a sintered alumina-based catalyst having a bulk greater than of the alumina of (a) and an attrition resistance as measured by attrition loss of less than 0.01% wt/hour.
2. A process as claimed in claim 1, in which the sintered alumina based catalyst has a bulk density of at least 1.5 g/ml.
3. A process as claimed in claim 1 or 2, in which the nickel containing sintering agent has been introduced by impregnation of the starting alumina with a decomposable compound of nickel.
4. A process as claimed in claim 1, wherein said sintering agent contains nickel as the only essential agent.
5. A process for the preparation of an alumina-based catalyst which comprises:
(a) selecting a gamma-alumina catalyst having a bulk density of at least 0.6 g/ml and a pore volume of less than 0.6 ml/g;
(b) heating the gamma alumina of (a) to a temperature of at least 1200 C. in the presence of a nickel containing sintering agent in an amount to give at least 5% by weight of nickel and an attrition resistance as measured by attrition loss of less than 0.01% wt/hour.
Description

This application is a continuation, of application Ser. No. 07/203,010, filed Jun. 6, 1988, now abandoned.

This invention relates to the production of alumina-based catalysts having a high resistance to attrition.

Steam reforming is an important method for the production of synthesis gas from natural gas. A mixture of steam and gaseous paraffinic hydrocarbons, primarily methane, is passed over a catalyst at high temperatures. Such processes are described for example in GB-A-1569014, GB-A-1550754 and GB-A-1550754. Partial oxidation of gaseous paraffinic hydrocarbons with oxygen or a molecular oxygen containing gas is another method of generating synthesis gas.

Alumina-based catalysts are useful in this area and in a variety of other hydrocarbon conversion reactions. They may be used in fixed, moving, or recirculating particulate bed reactors. In all types of bed, resistance to attrition is important. There can be considerable breakdown of catalyst during the filling of fixed catalyst bed reactors and, clearly, catalysts in moving or recirculating particulate bed reactors, have to be attrition resistant. The shape of the catalyst particles can vary but they are preferably spheroidal to give uniform bed packing. A convenient method of making spheroidal alumina catalysts is the oil-drop method, in which drops of an alumina hydrosol and a gelling agent are passed into a hot oil bath. A method of preparing high density, high crush strength spheroidal alumina from alumina hydrates by the oil drop method is described and claimed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,542,113 and involves using an alumina sol of defined characteristics and incorporating urea in the sol.

The present invention is concerned with the sintering of a alumina catalyst of defined characteristics to increase its resistance to attrition.

According to the present invention, the preparation of an alumina-based catalyst having improved resistance to attrition comprises:

(a) selecting an alumina catalyst having a bulk density of at least 0.6 g/ml and a pore volume of less than 0.6 ml/g;

(b) heating the alumina of (a) to a temperature of at least 1000 C. in the presence of a sintering agent containing at least one metal selected from nickel, chromium, cobalt and platinum; and

(c) recovering a sintered alumina-based catalyst having a bulk density and an attrition resistance greater than that of the alumina of (a).

Preferably the finished catalyst has a bulk density of at least 1.5 g/ml and an attrition resistance as measured by attrition loss of less than 0.01% wt/hour/liter.

The attrition test specified herein involves subjecting a recirculating bed of solids to a high velocity gas jet (300 to 400 m/s) and monitoring weight loss against time.

Preferably, the sintering agent contains chromium, cobalt or, especially, nickel. The amount of sintering agent used depends on the desired application of the finished catalyst; preferably said amount is such as to produce a finished catalyst containing at least 5, preferably at least 8, % wt of metal.

The starting alumina is important, it having been found that apparently similar aluminas respond very differently to the sintering treatment. The preferred alumina catalyst is a spheroidal alumina catalyst and the preferred method of preparing a spheroidal alumina catalyst suitable for use as the starting material for the present invention is that described in U.S. Pat. No. 4,542,113.

The sintering temperature to which the alumina catalyst is subjected may suitably be at least 1200 C. A practical upper temperature limit may be 1500 C. The sintering may be carried out in a flowing stream of air or oxygen containing inert gas or in a non-reducing atmosphere and the heating up and cooling down of the catalyst may be at a uniform and fairly low rate (e.g. about 2 C./minute) to avoid undue thermal stress on the catalyst.

An important feature of the sintering process is that it is carried out in the presence of a sintering agent containing at least one metal selected from nickel, chromium, cobalt and platinum. The metal is preferably in the form of an oxide. Nickel oxide is preferred.

Nickel, chromium, cobalt and platinum are well-known catalytic components of alumina-based catalysts, for example partial oxidation and steam reforming catalysts. The use of such a metal in the process of the invention serves a dual purpose: that of producing a catalyst, preferably a partial oxidation or steam reforming catalyst, containing the metal as catalytic component, and also that of acting as a sintering agent. The sintering agent may be added to the alumina-based catalyst at any convenient stage in the catalyst preparation prior to the sintering and using any convenient technique. While it is believed that it is the metal oxide which acts as the actual sintering agent, the metal may be added as a decomposable compound by impregnation e.g. as a nickel salt in the case of the preferred sintering agent.

Nickel-alumina catalysts are well known catalysts in processes for the conversion of hydrocarbons and the sintered nickel-alumina catalysts of the present invention may be used in any such process for which nickel-alumina is a known catalyst. Further, since the sintering is carried out at a temperature of at least 1000 C., it follows that the catalyst produced can be used in high temperature processes where temperatures of the order of 1000 C. or higher may be required.

The invention further provides a process for the conversion of hydrocarbons, which comprises passing steam or a molecular oxygen containing gas and a gaseous paraffinic hydrocarbon feedstock over a catalyst prepared by the process of the invention.

It is believed that the characteristic of the finished catalyst which gives it its attrition resistance and high bulk density is its uniform microstructure comprised of large areas of well sintered material with a typical grain size of about 0.1 um.

The invention is illustrated by the following examples.

EXAMPLE 1

Two commercially available alumina spheres were used as starting materials. One material (the material according to the present invention) was produced by a method similiar to that of U.S. Pat. No. 4,542,113.

The other (the comparative material not according to the present invention) was obtained from another catalyst manufacturer.

Both materials were in the form of spheres of approximately 2 mm diameter, and both consisted essentially of gamma-alumina. The physical characteristics of the material according to the invention prior to impregnation were as shown in Table 1 below.

              TABLE 1______________________________________              Al2 O3 of the              present invention______________________________________Pore volume ml/g     0.48Nitrogen, BET, surface area m2 /g                220Bulk density g/ml    0.78Gamma-Al2 O3 crystallite size A                50______________________________________

The alumina according to the invention was characterised by a fairly low pore volume and relatively high bulk density, indicating microporosity.

Each of the aluminas was impregnated with nickel nitrate using the pore fill/incipient wetness technique, and calcined to convert the nickel nitrate to nickel oxide under conditions known to those skilled in the art and then sintered at 1200 C. The amount of nickel nitrate used was such as to give 10% wt nickel in the finished catalysts. The characteristics of the sintered catalyst according to the invention is given in Table 2 below, the attrition loss being determined under comparable conditions.

              TABLE 2______________________________________           Catalyst of           the present invention______________________________________Pore volume ml/g   0.09N2 BET, surface area m2 /g             3Bulk density g/ml 2.0Attrition loss % wt/hr/l              0.008Grain size um     0.1-0.2Agglomerate size um             10______________________________________

The attrition loss of the catalyst not according to the present invention was 0.03% wt/hr/1. The predominant characteristic of the catalyst according to the invention was a very uniform microstructure comprised of large areas of well-sintered material with typical grain size, 0.1 um. In comparison, the microstructure of the comparative catalyst contained large numbers of areas of loosely-packed (poorly sintered) material, termed agglomerates which give rise to a weaker material. The agglomerates (10 um dia.) were present in both materials but were far fewer in number in the preferred catalyst.

The catalyst according to the invention had a much higher bulk density, lower surface area and much reduced pore volume. Its resistance to attrition was an order of magnitude greater than the comparative material.

EXAMPLE 2

This example shows the benefit of having nickel oxide present as a sintering agent.

Samples of the alumina spheres of Example 1 were impregnated with differing amounts of nickel nitrate to give catalysts with 0, 5 and 10% wt of nickel. Each catalyst was then sintered as per Example 1. Table 3 below shows the affect of the addition of nickel.

              TABLE 3______________________________________         Bulk Density                    Attrition Ratewt % Nickel   g/ml       wt %/hr/l (gas)______________________________________0             1.3        0.0505             1.7        0.03510            2.0        0.008______________________________________

It will be seen that the addition of nickel markedly increases the bulk density and attrition resistance of the sintered alumina.

EXAMPLE 3

The general method of Example 2 was repeated using a wider range of concentrations of nickel. In all cases, the addition of nickel improved the attrition resistance of the catalyst, the results being given in Table 4 in which the relative attrition index is the observed rate of attrition (wt %/hr) per unit throughput of gas (1/min) relative to the base alumina.

              TABLE 4______________________________________         Bulk Density                    Relativewt % Nickel   g/ml       Attrition Index______________________________________ 0            1.30       1.0 5            1.58       0.2610            1.78       0.1615            1.94       0.1620            2.02       0.16______________________________________
EXAMPLE 4

The general method of Example 1 was repeated using a range of different metals. The results are given in Table 5, which includes the use of palladium as a comparison not within the scope of the invention.

              TABLE 5______________________________________Metal         Bulk Density                    Relative10% by wt     g/ml       Attrition Index______________________________________Pd            1.30       2.30(comparison)Ni            2.01       0.16Cr            1.39       0.81Co            1.64       0.35Base alumina  1.30       1.0______________________________________

It can be seen that the use of nickel, chromium and cobalt as sintering agent improved the attrition resistance of the catalyst, whereas the use of palladium decreased the attrition resistance.

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Non-Patent Citations
Reference
1 *Chemical Abstracts 105:140513f.
2 *Chemical Abstracts 98:205037n.
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US5177303 *Dec 30, 1991Jan 5, 1993The British Petroleum Company, P.L.C.Process for hydrocarbon conversion
US5943546 *Nov 29, 1995Aug 24, 1999Toto Ltd.Gradient function material
US5972067 *Aug 17, 1998Oct 26, 1999Toto Ltd.Gradient function material seal cap for discharge lamp bulb
US6673743 *Aug 10, 2001Jan 6, 2004Johnson Matthey PlcNickel catalysts on transition alumina
Classifications
U.S. Classification502/335, 502/337
International ClassificationB01J23/75, B01J21/04, B01J37/08, B01J23/755, B01J23/42, B01J23/26
Cooperative ClassificationB01J21/04, B01J37/08
European ClassificationB01J37/08, B01J21/04
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jun 29, 2004FPExpired due to failure to pay maintenance fee
Effective date: 20040505
May 5, 2004LAPSLapse for failure to pay maintenance fees
Nov 20, 2003REMIMaintenance fee reminder mailed
Nov 19, 2003REMIMaintenance fee reminder mailed
Oct 4, 1999FPAYFee payment
Year of fee payment: 8
Sep 7, 1995FPAYFee payment
Year of fee payment: 4
Jun 22, 1993CCCertificate of correction